Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for April 11th, 2019

Assange Charged With Conspiracy

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Julian Assange was arrested earlier today at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had been sheltered for going on seven years (since 2012).

According to reporting from The New York Times, the U.S. charged Assange of conspiring to hack a computer as part of the 2010 release of reams of secret American documents. 

The charge was filed in March 2018 and carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. The Times noted that it was not an espionage charge, which could have carried much more significant penalties.

Mr. Assange has been in the sights of the United States government since his organization’s 2010 disclosures. Most recently, Mr. Assange has been under attack for his organization’s release during the 2016 presidential campaign of thousands of emails stolen from the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee, leading to a series of revelations that embarrassed the party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. United States investigators have said that the systems were hacked by Russian agents; the conspiracy charge against Mr. Assange unsealed Thursday is not related to the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election influence.

Mr. Assange will have the right to contest the United States extradition request in British courts. Most people who fight extradition requests argue that the case is politically motivated rather than driven by legitimate legal concerns.

But the Times also note that his:

initial arrest on Thursday arose from something much more innocuous: He faces a charge in a British court of jumping bail, and the Metropolitan Police said in a statement that Mr. Assange had been arrested by officers at the embassy on a warrant issued by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2012, for failing to surrender to the court. A British judge found him guilty of skipping out on bail.

So why did Ecuador give Assange up?

“Finally two days ago, WikiLeaks, the organization of Mr. Assange, threatened the government of Ecuador,” Mr. Moreno said, an apparent reference to allegations from the organization that Mr. Assange had been subject to a spying operation. “My government has nothing to fear and doesn’t act under threat.”

In his video, Mr. Moreno singled out the recent release by WikiLeaks of information about the Vatican as evidence that Mr. Assange had continued to work with WikiLeaks to violate “the rule of nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states.”

Written by turbotodd

April 11, 2019 at 11:32 am

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